Saturday, August 10, 2013

River Rafting in Iceland

Just a note before I start - I know lots of people have been reading these posts but I don't know who -- so please, leave a comment at the bottom, even just to say hi!

And now back to the original program!

Today we went river rafting on the Hvítá River. It was a different tour from the rest, because while all of the other were completely customer service focused, this one... not so much. We started by riding in a van where two of the four guides in front of us were fast asleep, one was listening to music, and the other was completely focused on the road and didn't offer any comment. (Okay, so we weren't exactly talkative at this point either, but we have been spoiled so far since we got here, so we were expecting the guide to take the lead, and start telling us about what we were driving though, etc. The ride was 75 minutes, then we arrived at the place where we suit up for rafting.

At this point it became clear to us that no, even though we were the only two in the van we would not be the only two people rafting - there were 51 passengers (a far cry from the 5-10 that we had grown accustomed to!) They had everyone wait in the main lobby until all of the groups arrived. Then they herded us into the "big room", where they explained how the wet suits, splash jackets, life jackets, and helmets would work. I must admit that they did much better at this point.

We were directed into two changing rooms (one for the men and another for the women), where we put on the apparel. I had read many reviews ahead of time with people talking about how cold they were, so I wore a coat between my wet suit and my splash jacket. I knew that it would get drenched, but I also knew that it was a good quality coat that would keep me warm wet or dry. After putting all of these on they gave us wet shoes to wear, and we were off to two, full-size large school buses.

It was difficult to take pictures during this trip (didn't want to lose the camera!) but the swells got to be about a metre high at their highest point while going down the river. We rode (and paddled) in these beauties:

About halfway through the run we stopped at a cliff, where we literally got to jump off a cliff. We weren't told exactly how high the cliff was, but I'm guessing about 10 ft. The picture below shows the cliff in the background as a few jumpers swim back to the boats (the piece of cliff jutting out on the right hand side of the photo).

After we were done river rafting for the day, we headed back to Reykjavik where the Gay Pride festival was in full swing. It was so exciting to see, especially after Putin made it illegal to even tell children that gay people exist yesterday. So frustrating. Anyway, I digress.

When we got back to the city a party was in full swing. Cotton candy being made on the corner by our apartment. A mainstage set up a few blocks down with live music playing. People EVERYWHERE.

Unfortunately we caught the very tail end of the celebration - by the time we got our groceries and had supper the celebrations were over. That said, it was still wonderful to experience what we did see!